The doctor is different, but the title’s the same.
“In Treatment” returned to HBO on Sunday, in a show billed as a fourth season to the Emmy-winning program that ran from 2008 to 2010. It hasn’t changed its design much, but it’s updated its story for 2021, when the world — and its characters — look very different.
Uzo Aduba plays Dr. Brooke Lawrence, a Los Angeles-based therapist and former colleague of original show lead Paul Weston, portrayed by Gabriel Byrne.
“The world in this version of ‘In Treatment’ is wholly different from the world when the show wrapped in 2010. The conversation was very different in terms of mental health and how that was looked at or how that was being addressed in communities of color,” Aduba told the Daily News.
“The view that Brooke has of the world, she’s a person first and she is and always will be a Black woman. That experience and reality does, I think, affect how her ears are tuned to what is being said.”
Some things did remain the same, including how the focus is on three of Brooke’s patients.
There’s Eladio, an in-home nurse caring for the disabled son of an uber-wealthy family played by “In The Heights’” and “Hamilton” star Anthony Ramos.
Then there’s John Benjamin Hickey’s Colin, an entitled Silicon Valley executive in courtmandated therapy after serving time for financial crimes.
Rounding out the three is Laila, a troubled teen portrayed by Quintessa Swindell, whose grandmother sends her to Brooke to cure her lesbianism.
HBO will air back-to-back, half-hour episodes each Sunday and Monday night.
Each show is an isolated session, with one episode devoted to Brooke in conversation either with her toxic, on-again-off-again boyfriend or her friend.
Brooke’s sometimes beau is played by Joel Kinnaman, who knows a thing or two about therapists, he was raised by one — his mom.
“She would always ask me, ‘what’s this really about?” the “Suicide Squad” and “The Killing” actor told The News.
“I really appreciated that in a way because she gave me a language to talk about my emotions and ask myself questions. If I was acting out in a way, there could be a deeper reason for it.”
To be Laila, Quintessa Swindell, 24, who previously starred in Netflix’s “Trinkets,” had the task of capturing the experience of teenager in these very trying times.
“She’s just a young teenage girl coping with the excess of information that’s come to so many young people within this past year,” Swindell told The News.
“She’s struggling with her identity, but also finding herself, and also asking herself deep, intrinsic questions about who she is amongst her family, in her culture, among other young people she knows.”
It’s Brooke’s job to figure out how to help her, and everyone else and herself.
“We all just lived through a pandemic,” Aduba told The News. The jig was up. We’re all in our sweatpants. We’re not pretending. I’m not doing my hair, I’m not wearing makeup, I don’t care. I have other things to care about. But here’s this woman who is continuing to do that.
“Here’s this woman who still insists on getting her nails done even though nail salons are closed, who’s still waking up and still putting on a uniform and an armor. That mask is what’s holding her together.”